Shunned by their relatives after they were orphaned by AIDS, five siblings spent the last two months living by their parents' graves in their native Jamua village in Pratapgarh district.
The relatives feared they might contract the deadly disease, compelling the four brothers and a sister to move out. The siblings - the youngest of whom is eight - settled down some 50 metres away from their paternal house, next to their parents' graves in their family garden, which also serves as a private burial place. Their shelter comprised of a tattered tarpaulin tent next to a tree and two broken cots.
The siblings lost their father, who worked as a driver in Mumbai, due to HIV AIDS three years ago. Two months ago, their mother too lost the battle against the killer disease, leaving them without any support.
Their relatives, anxious of contracting the disease, asked them to leave. They were also ostracized by some villagers.
Coming to the aid of the siblings, the administration has passed a file for providing them shelter under the Lohia Awaas Yojna. Also, concerned that the children might continue to face social boycott even after settlement, a medical checkup camp will be held to allay the fears of the villagers about HIV-AIDS contraction, Sadar Tehsildar Saurabh Shukla told The Hindu.
"From what's coming in, all of them [children]have tested negative for HIV," he said.
After the results of the HIV test were known, their grandmother agreed to take them in but they will shift to the shelter provided by the administration in a day or two.
The siblings will also receive ration under the Antodaya Anna Yojana, which provides 35 kg of rice for Rs 3 per kg and 35 kg of wheat for Rs 2 per kg.
However, "no money will be charged from them. We have assured them that they will receive as much food as they require," said Mr. Shukla.
The eldest (21) will get work under MNREGA as per his wish, while the youngest son (8) and the girl (16) have expressed desire to study in a religious institution. Two others have been admitted to a boarding school so that they are also provided food and clothing. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has also promised the children Rs one lakh each.